By Tafi Stober

The year was 1978 and Peaches & Herb released "Reunited." I was four years old at the time but fell in love with the groovy ballad during Disco's flashy reign. Who knew that the song some 42 years later would be embraced by the Van Wert LIVE organization as a mantra for our return. With lyrics that define pandemic era sentiments, like "Me minus you is such a lonely ride," "I sat here starin' at the same old wall," and "I found it very hard to stay away," the break-up song takes on new poetic appeal.

The Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation has been operating in a hibernating state since August of 2020. The majority of staff has been on furlough until the time is right to begin presenting entertainment events. During this time, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center has been utilized by the Van Wert City Schools to support classroom instruction as it provides space for the distancing of students. It's perfect! We are grateful that the stage could be leveraged and repurposed during this time for the benefit of the students and staff. We also want to recognize the VWCS Administration and Board of Directors for working closely with our organization throughout this time of building new processes. This relationship is key to the ongoing success of the VWAPAF and is a reflection of how Van Wert continues to grow forward as a community thanks to collaborations built upon mutual respect and community benefit.

As Executive Director during the pandemic, the ultimate focus has been on financial stewardship and the pursuit of grant opportunities. Federal grants are now impacting our return and we await news of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant that will help fuel the revival of the performing arts in Van Wert. However, because of the sustainability support of the Van Wert County Foundation and it's commitment to providing free summer concerts for the community, the Feel Good Friday Music Series has been announced and will provide 10 Free Fridays of live entertainment in Fountain Park. This amazing opportunity to reunite our people with live music in lovely downtown Van Wert is electrifying! For more information on the Feel Good Friday concerts, please visit and get all the details. Please note, concerts now begin at 7:30 PM.

The future is underway and more programming information of The Grandstand Fair Concert and Fall at the Niswonger will be shared on another day. Until then, stay safe and surrounded by good sounds. I will leave you with the chorus of Reunited, which is exactly how we feel about getting back in touch with the people that we live to keep entertained.

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited 'cause we're reunited, hey, hey